The Economic Efficiency of the Robust Rules of Modern Product Liability Law
Wade, David R.
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Since the 1960's, courts have embraced rules imposing "strict liability" on manufacturers for defective products while eschewing traditional negligence rules. This shift has generated considerable scholarship. Much of this scholarship has utilized economic models to analyze legal rules in terms of their economic efficiency. This article, by partitioning the "accident event space," derives and focuses on an alternative set of economically efficient "robust rules" to the inappropriate and narrow "simple rules" derived by previous scholars. Through an examination of existing case law, this article demonstrates that these economically efficient "robust rules" more accurately explain courts' notion of strict liability and courts' seemingly capricious assignment of liability under modern negligence doctrine.